Is AI coming for your job? These industries are most at risk

Workers will need to “adapt and acquire new skills” to ensure they aren’t replaced by automation, as artificial intelligence technology continues to grow at an exponential rate, experts warn.

An OECD report from March, titled The Impact of AI on the Workplace: Evidence from OECD case studies of AI implementation, found that “job reorganisation appears more prevalent than job displacement, with automation promoting the reorientation of jobs towards tasks in which humans have a comparative advantage”.

Professor Seyedali Mirjalili, the director of the Centre for Artificial Intelligence Research and Optimisation at Torrens University, told The New Daily that the speed of adoption of AI is different across industries, countries and organisations.

“Internationally, technology and IT have been leading the adoption in data analysis, cyber security and cloud computing,” he said.

“In Australia … finance and banking use it for fraud detection, customer service and optimising investment strategies.”

Professor Mirjalili said routine and repetitive tasks will likely be automated by AI in many workplaces in the near future, which could result in job displacement.

“We need to adapt and acquire new skills to remain relevant,” he said.

“Professional development and upskilling will become quite important so that the workforce can collaborate with AI.”

The construction industry is one of the least likely to be exposed to AI automation. Photo: AAP

Automation has arrived

AI adoption has already been linked to layoffs in the tech industry that created it, with CNN reporting that a small but growing number of tech firms cited AI as the reason for retrenching workers and rethinking further hiring in recent months.

Another industry that could be affected by AI is the media, as publishers of websites like Gizmodo, Kotaku and Deadspin announced they will begin testing AI content.

Professor Mirjalili said despite the risk of job displacement, he believes AI can be a force for good – if it can be harnessed.

“I really want everyone to be mindful [and] not to be afraid of it, because just [like] other new technologies, it has pros and cons,” he said.

“It’s a double-edged sword and we can collectively work together to harness it rather than being afraid of it.”

Jobs at biggest risk

Goldman Sachs released a report in March highlighting the United States jobs most likely to be exposed to AI automation, based on the types of tasks conducted during work.

The report found office and administrative support, legal, architecture and engineering were the most likely roles to be affected by AI-driven automation, as it affects common tasks like data entry, scheduling and document management.

Other affected jobs include business and financial operations, community and social services, and management.

The least affected industries are those reliant on manual labour, like construction, grounds cleaning and maintenance.

Exponential growth

Professor Mirjalili said the speed of growth of ChatGPT and other AI systems didn’t just surprise the public, but experts too.

“The growth has been definitely exponential and believe it or not, we are going to have even more ChatGPT moments in the next 10 to 15 years,” he said.

Pictured is ChatGPT chatbot

We should expect more “ChatGPT moments”. Photo: Getty

He said organisations and companies should be transparent about their use of AI systems, prioritise privacy and security, and address biases present in their models.

“An AI system is only as good as its data, and biased data will lead to biased outcomes,” Professor Mirjalili said.

“We urgently need a framework and regulation around this, because what makes it different from other inventions and technologies is that when an incident happens in AI space, it may already be too late.”

The Australian government announced its intention to regulate AI technology in June, to ensure there are safeguards against any risk associated with the technology.

In 2018, Australia was one of the first countries in the world to introduce a framework for ethical and responsible AI.

Topics: AI, ChatGPT
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